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Point And Click Adventure Game titles Film Studies Essay

The intentions of this dissertation are to delve into the depths of an much-loved yet dwindling genre of video game, the idea and click Experience. Setting out to investigate what made the genre so popular in the 1990's and discuss the unknown surrounding what game theorists and lovers make reference to as "The Death of The experience game".

Point and Click journeys are all but a dusty booklet in the archive that is today's greatly successful video gaming industry. However its position in the imagination of the individuals who experienced it that singles out point and click as not only important to its lovers but to the gaming industry itself. Many video games since the middle 80's have come and gone, going out of very little, if any impact on the gambling industry. Developers today hold the genre in high regard. In an interview with Claas Paletta of Daedalic Entertainment, I asked him about his activities with the point and click genre:

"Point and click had a huge effect on me and my friends as teens in the 90's. I remember waiting for another LucasArts or Sierra subject to be on the racks. Its what made me desire to be where I am today, I just wanted to be engaged in video games. I still play all of them to this day, If I can escape with it. "

Claas, like many mixed up in gaming industry show just what a direct effect the genre has had on their careers. Point and click is a genre that encouraged a technology of game developers, with their witty laughter, mind-bending puzzles and in-depth history.

This ability that point and click were required to tell a story is at no small part because of the biggest creator in the genre and of the 1990's, LucasArts. Founded under the name LucasFilm Game titles in 1982, these were originally setup as a study development company, yet, in 1984 they announced themselves as a designer and publisher of entertainment software. After many years of development a member of the LucasArts team developed the SCUMM engine unit, which stood for Script creation Energy for Maniac Mansion, a game that started the trend in Point and Click. His name was Ron Gilbert, he'd go on to be always a driving force behind the idea and click technology of game titles at LucasArts, with titles including the famous Monkey Island series and Day of the Tentacle; a sequel to Maniac Mansion. It had been this engine that rejuvenated that which was at that time parser driven excitement genre. The participant would have to type commands in to the game to attain development, however with the advent of the SCUMM engine unit 'Point and Click' was born.

With the knowledge of several successful films in their arsenal, LucasArts and their development team, were able to create in-depth tale and sophisticated narrative that could only be comparable to that of the movie industry. Games at the moment simply cannot compete with the difficulty of some LucasArts headings. The likes of Sierra who some would say kick started out the experience genre in the 80's with game titles including the Kings Search series (1984-1994) were not able to generate anything to get near the sales levels that LucasArts achieved. The first Monkey Island sold around 44, 000 copies in america alone, with estimates claiming Europe tends to double that quantity.

According with an interview with Tim Schaefer (2007), co-creator of the monkey Island series:

"In 1990, Monkey Island needed nine a few months to make and cost $200, 000. In the first '90s, we were really excited if we sold 100, 000 copies of the PC graphic trip. "

This would leave sales at around 150, 000 models Worldwide. So taking into consideration the context of that time period, and the money spent on the development of the game, Monkey Island was an enormous success. Moreover, taking into account the possession of PC's in 1990, where not every household would own a Personal computer, this shape was considered to be an extremely high and successful number despite it being greatly overshadowed in today's market.

These sales were no fluke, of course the typical of game was the key contributor to its success, nevertheless LucasArts experienced one main gain over their main rivals Sierra, an already huge captive audience. This audience was due to the huge success of the film franchises Star Wars and Indiana Jones. George Lucas had built an enormous fan base because of the success of the movies, a fan base that were greatly excited by the chance of video game versions of their favorite movies.

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With such a huge following LucasArts were able to create videogames that could charm to the public. They could call upon their already established film franchises to excite and hook up with the ball player. For example the use of refined personal references to the StarWars saga in the second Installment of Monkey Island, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge(1995). During the climactic fight landscape near to the end of Monkey Island 2, LeChuck proclaims to be Guybrush's dad, a twist used straight from the Legend Wars Movies where you discover Darth Vader is, in truth Luke Skywalkers father.

Its this impressive capacity to interweave tale, narrative, laughter and occasionally popular culture into a single entity that placed LucasArts and the genre it helped to re-mould, apart from other games of the time.

Narrative within game titles experienced never been so advanced, it created mass charm for Personal computer gamers, a generation that played games before they advanced in to the mass consumer market that they exist in today. So is narrative involved today? With headings being churned away much like in the movie industry, is narrative in modern gaming not what it is at the early to mid 1990's?


When investigating this area of mass media it's important to take into consideration the ways that I will tackle research surrounding the topic. The majority of the dissertation will be reliant on looking into the annals of not only the point and click genre however the history of video gaming overall.

Monkey Island and the idea and click genre was an interval in gaming, in which, I as a participant was intensely involved. That is a vital factor as it pertains to charting the incidents of "The Loss of life of The adventure game"

One Research model which will be great for my investigation is the somewhat controversial approach to Auto-ethnographic research. This is actually the process in which the writer or author writes his or her own personal narrative exploring their experiences in just a certain field, alternatively than counting on the values and studies of others. This is wholly the truth in this dissertation due to my vulnerability and experiences with the topic matter. Regardless of the process becoming more trusted within the spheres of new multimedia and journalism it is still thought slightly controversial as a trusted method of research. Many Qualitative researchers have portrayed concerns with the validity of the technique, expressing concerns that analytical text messages should for some reason connect to something greater component of life, somewhat than stating it's importance through personal idea. Conversely Chang(2008) argues the benefits of Auto-ethnography. He promises that it allows for a research method that is friendly both analysts and readers as a result of texts engaging features, allowing the researcher to gain a cultural knowledge of self in relation to others, which cross-cultural coalition can be built between themselves among others. In conclusion, Auto-ethnography, used in conjunction with other forms of research, will allow this dissertation to be more engaging and allow, what exactly are considered, important self-experiences to be communicated to the reader.

One factor that must be considered if this method is going to be executed properly is the coherent knowing that subjective judgment of the subject matter can be somewhat skewed by the actual fact that my romantic relationship with it was set up at a young age group. The genre was what I grew up playing, it's important not to make drastic says, solely based upon personal encounters of enjoyment getting together with the genre.

The form that dissertation will take, heavily depends on the recollection of historical incidents, breaking down these situations and uncovering potential reasoning's for nov the idea and click genre. This makes hands-on research a somewhat tenuous subject in uncovering "truths". Nevertheless, by using an ethnographic approach that will coincide with the aforementioned Auto-ethnographic method I will endeavor to perform interviews with industry insiders, people that contain in some way been involved with some aspect of the video game industry at that time period involved.

One potential pit fall season with interviewing could be the framework of the questions asked. It is important that I attempt to ask no leading questions, and leave the participants respond to be entirely reflective of their experiences. One potential issue I have experienced through the interviewing process was the positioning of the interviewees. A lot of the people of whom I wished to talk with are based in either the USA or Europe, this designed that interviewing in person was implausible, this supposed all interviews would have to be conducted via email. Potential issues with this technique of interview are the failure of the interviewer to probe any interesting replies, Cowen(2001) explains to of the value of interview strategy, she speaks of the importance of empathy and rapport, tuning in and questioning, restatement, clarification and persistence. Many of which cannot be adhered to in an email-based interview.

Chapter 2 - The secret mythology of Monkey Island

It is vitally important to select and identify what it was that made Point and Click trip video games so popular in the 1990's. One of the most successful game titles released in this period of escapist game playing was the task of a little team at LucasArts. In order to understand their success, we should understand the roots of the games; their inspirations, intentions and results.

LucasArts video games had the benefit of two hugely popular and highly praised film trilogies to call after when growing their Superstar Wars and Indiana Jones games. These aforementioned box office strikes were all influenced by the works of Joseph Campbell, a dominant amount in the research of heroic misconception throughout civilization. Campbell was an American mythologist, copy writer and lecturer who endeavored to break down the composition of myth. Most of all in the context of this article, was his research of the numerous faces and motives of the Hero. Campbell (1968) points out the basic structure in his book The Hero With A Thousand Faces like this:

"A hero endeavors forth from the world of common day into an area of supernatural think about: fabulous causes are there experienced and a decisive triumph is received: the hero comes back from this mystical adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. "

In Oct 1990 a videogame surfaced among the most unique and critically acclaimed trip video games of the 10 years. It also, like many of Lucas' videos, relied upon this same myth structure but located it in a completely new and unique setting up. The Secret Of Monkey Island (1990) requires these same key points of the heroic misconception as laid out by Campbell and offers an interactive experience packed with wit and laughter that has become a vintage in it's own right.

Monkey Island is among the finest types of interactive narrative that was released during the point and click period of video gaming. It achieved this by using varying techniques of narrative and gaming design to provide a Joseph Campbell experience. Whilst other game titles in 1990 were assisting you build railways or guide two plumbers to save lots of a princess, Monkey Island was setting out to tell a story of Love, laughs and a man's endeavor to become "Guybrush Threepwood, A Mighty Pirate".

In the starting moments of the overall game the player is introduced with their environment, Melee Island. That's where the adventure really begins. Were then unveiled to Campbells archetypal "Old Good Man" by means of the blind Island lookout; that's where the ball player and hero, Guybrush Threepwood, are given their instructions to complete the pursuit to become a mighty pirate.

Our protagonist, Guybrush, has already been by using an island inhabited by pirates much mightier it would seem to be than he. Which means this initial opening chapter begins his pursuit to become a member of a pre-existing modern culture; much like Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars trilogy. Campbells idea of proving your worthy of to the tribe before aiming on your journey. That is done by some trials in which Guybrush must confirm his credential as a pirate, again connecting with Campbells outlining of the heroic myth. Campbell claims that the easiness with which a Hero defeats these difficulties shows how great of any person the truly are. This same argument can be easily transferred onto the puzzle handling factor of Monkey Island, and in reality any excitement game. However it also coheres well with narrative proven fact that the protagonist, Guybrush, must have difficulty from the beginning to be able to establish himself.

Anything however the mighty pirate he dreams to be, Guybrush and the gamer must solely rely on the wits, and the puzzles and game design mirror this. To beat the swordsman, you have to take part in learning founded puzzles. Learning insults by fighting with each other various wandering pirates around Melee Island, then using reasoning to work out the correct insults to defeat the sword master. Another problem is to plunder some buried treasure from a dark forest, relying on either a guide or stumbling around in the woods until you by chance achieve your goal. Such decisions to resolve puzzles or aimlessly wander are often ones faced by various heroes in their journeys through similar darkness. For instance, in the 'Epic of Gilgamesh', main known bits of literary work, the character of Ruler Gilgamesh selects to descend under the hill in his quest for the Fruit of Immortality, stumbling around until he confirms his way to avoid it before the Sunlight extends to him.

The third and final quest is to steal an idol from the governor's mansion, a test of wits and man-eating poodles this trial in the same way harks back to ancient star and myth. The earlier mentioned man-eating Poodles, are a representation of 'the beast' guarding the prize. Guybrush must discover a way past this defender before he is able to venture in to the governors home, which signifies the cave or temple of many ancient myths. Whether it's the three-headed Cerberus defending Hades or the dragon guarding the Princess (as the governor eventually turns out to be) the beast performs a big role in the composition of mythology. LucasArts' game design allows the gamer to be challenged with techniques that mimic the habits and conventions of the heroic myth by evaluating various skills that permit the overarching search of the game to be embarked upon.

One of the techniques LucasArts made the story of Monkey Island so compelling was the utilization of cutscenes to share with the storyline and fill in the gaps that were unobtainable during preliminary game-play. Through the opening periods of the overall game a cutscene reads "Meanwhile, deep beneath Monkey Island" This is where we get our first glimpse in our story's Villain 'The Evil Ghost Pirate LeChuck' and his ghost ship anchored deep under Monkey Island in a place that can only be referred to as Hell. The player is subjected to the undead crew of the ghost ship ominously speaking about your arrival. The glowing blues and reds of this nightmarish locale are equally off-putting and are a stark distinction compared to that of the colors of Melee Island. This place is evenly the main topic of myth for every one of the character types you meet during your journey, they notify Legends of doomed journeys to Monkey Island, ships going back without their crews.

These cut displays and NPC enabled narrative progression is exactly what allows the gamer to gain an air of enjoyment and intrigue. They need to venture to this Hellish place, yet have no idea how they will get there. This idea of the goal or area of the pursuit being some distance from home is a convention mentioned by Propp(1968) in his work 'Morphology of the folktale', he stated:

"Usually the subject of search is found in 'another' or 'different' kingdom. This kingdom may lie far away horizontally, or else very high up or deep down vertically. "

The cause for the primary quest to begin is LeChucks kidnapping of Governor Marley. The players' romance with Marley is dependant on the order where the studies are completed, Guybrush will either have a jilted loving exchange with The Governor due to his not being truly a pirate or she actually is taken away just as the partnership with Guybrush has started. In either circumstance Governor Marley calls for the role of the desired female shape that everyone dreams. Numerous NCP's will speak of their admiration for Governor Elaine Marley, whilst she complains of her annoyance at having to continually transform away their improvements. The Villain of the piece, LeChuck is also driven by his lust for Elaine, leading him to kidnap her and take her to the illusive 'Monkey Island'. The female amount or love interest is an important convention of any myth Campbell points out that part of her value is to serve as both a goal for the hero but also one which can be obtained through religious purity, in the rather skewed case of Monkey Island this is symbolized by Guybrush demonstrating himself as a mighty pirate. Campbell clarifies the female goddess figure as follows:

"She actually is the paragon of all paragons of beauty, the answer all desire, the bliss-bestowing goal of every hero's earthly and unearthly goalshe is the incarnation of the promise of efficiency; the soul's confidence that, towards the end of its exile in an environment of structured inadequacies, the bliss that was previously known will be known again. "

This hasn't been truer than in 'The Secret Of Monkey Island' and it's really sequel 'Return to Monkey Island' The unattainable feminine identity drives the plot of both video games. This however was lost in the next games in the series, highly criticized by the game's inventor, Ron Gilbert, for having Guybrush and Elaine Marry. Part of the function of her role in the storyline was lost when this decision was made. Guybrush's never-ending quest for Elaine whilst she laughs him off was one of the main element driving forces behind what made the storyplot and personas so successful. When she actually is kidnapped, neither Guybrush nor the ball player once hesitates in their need to rescue her.

The transition from the pirate Island of Melee to the high seas in search of Monkey Island coincides with a switch in chapter but also backdrop. It becomes daytime for the very first time in the overall game, suggesting a fresh dawn, a new excursion. This theme proceeds with the discovery of Monkey Island, which is framed and explored throughout the day time. However before actually reaching the island the player must again satisfy another convention of fairytale and misconception. Explained by Propp as 'The Acquisition of a enchanting agent' the Hero gets some kind of magic, which helps progress the story. This comes in the form of your potion that Guybrush must come up with using inventory items. After the potion is complete Guybrush gets into a Rip Truck Winkle-like state. This idea of the Hero getting into a aspiration like state during his quest in to the mythical realms is a key element of several common myths that Campbell outlines. Once Guybrush has awakened he has reached his destination. This all works towards emphasizing the mythical and inexplicable aura encompassing the island, portrayed previously in the storyline.

Exploring Monkey Island allows for the skills learnt earlier in the overall game to be finally examined, albeit applied in new ways. In the same way Campbell explained:

"The original trials will dictate how difficult the hero's quest will be"

The players capability to puzzle out this section of the overall game has fundamentally recently been analyzed. Those skills now just need to be enhanced and adapted to suit the new puzzles. The sooner insult based mostly swordplay becomes collecting bananas to please a monkey enough to hold a gate available for you. Wandering round the dark forest evolves into discovering a massive island, finding a way to the other area and eventually right here the island, cohering with the earlier described convention of the goal being a long way away above or below where you start your quest.

Prior to the our wits are examined as we attempt to discover a way about the Vegetarian Cannibals that inhabit Monkey Island. Eventually the participant locates themselves in the depths of Monkey Island, it soon becomes clear that guybrush will demand a guide for this particular lower leg of his voyage. There is only one route through the twisting passageways of Hell, and for us to check out this path we must count on the decapitated navigator.

Once the ball player reaches the Ghost Pirate LeChuck and his ghostly pirate dispatch, that was shown in early cutscenes, the ball player finally can feel the satisfaction referred to by Joseph Campbell of the Hero as he reaches the mythological environment. Once onboard the dispatch after much jostling with a rather obnoxious severed brain, Guybrush must recover a magic main that enables the gamer to mix a potion that has the power to defeat the ghost pirates. This notion of obtaining a enchanting agent is consultant of the berry that Gilgamesh pursues a convention also seen in countless other common myths. It is referred to by Campbell as "a Symbol of knowledge and life", however in Monkey island it is of course ways to make some root beer, which everybody knows is lethal to ghost pirates. This breakthrough and go back to Melee Island coincides with the come back of the Villain, LeChuck. Combined with the come back of LeChuck comes with it the sensation of terror and danger, this neatly coincides with the go back to the darkness of Melee Island, creating a daunting scene for the imminent and fast approaching climax. This getting together with of the Hero and Villain is often depicted as a battle, which only the Hero can get over. However with the wit and satire that LucasArts bring to the genre of point and click, we learn that in simple fact Governor Marley continues to be more competent that all the other character types mixed. This further cements her place as the divine woman, whilst Guybrush defeating LeChuck demonstrates his role as the hero of the piece.

In his publication The Hero With A Thousand Faces, Campbell goes on to describe:

"It is evident that the infantile fantasies which most of us cherish still in the unconscious play constantly into myth, story book, and the teachings of the chapel, as symbols of indestructible beingsbut the circumstances is obstructive too, for the thoughts come to relax in the icons and avoid passionately every effort to exceed. "

And this may be referred to as 'the result' of Monkey Island. It points out why it is finally such a proper adored and critically acclaimed game. It has taken the conventions and composition of Mythology that people all subconsciously know, love and understand and mixed it to create a comedic, gratifying and rich story because of its audience. The designers understood why is story work because of the comprehensive experience in the film industry, in the creation of Monkey Island they made an interactive experience that breathed further life into conventions and framework that contain been included in mans stories for thousands of years. They turned out that game titles aren't necessarily about the visual elements, by allowing the player to truly engross themselves into a story and persona they noticed that they already knew they could create a casino game that might be completely associated with a genre and a era for a long time to come.


Failings of the PAC genre, 3d game playing.

During the middle 1990's modern culture was quite definitely engrossed in growing technologies and age the computer. Technology was progressing faster than previously, with home PC's becoming a lot more powerful. Computer systems were beginning to really show the world, specifically the mass media audiences, just what they could achieve. In 1995 Toy Report was released as the first exclusively 3D rendered feature film. It placed a standard for the industry and securely put a stamp on the marketplace, showing precisely what computers could actually achieve.

Meanwhile, in the games industry, the market at this time was in relatively of a fight between the home consoles. At that time really the only contenders in the competition to get the hearts of the buyer were the securely proven Nintendo and new youngster on the block, Sega. Nintendo possessed dominated the market of home consoles since the introduction of the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) in 1985, some 5 years later Nintendo's command word of the home gaming business appeared unassailable. Yet, in the early 1990's a challenger emerged. Armed with much faster technologies, riskier games and a far more aggressive marketing strategy, Sega arrived with the MegaDrive. As Kline, Dyer-Witheford and De Peuter make clear in their book Digital Play (2003), this 'unit warfare' pathed the way for the future of home video gaming:

"The competition between Sega and Nintendo revolutionised gambling, propelling new extremes of specialized innovation, marketing level, and ethnic audacity and starting the way for other contenders"

This new competitive advantage to the video game industry experienced never been seen prior to this first big clash between rivaling factions. The point and click genres main contributors, companies such as LucasArts and Sierra, commenced to get still left in the wake of these quickly growing video gaming giants. Within an interview with the game playing blog 'Rock Newspaper Shotgun', Ron Gilbert, one of the initial co-creators of Monkey Island and inventor of the SCUMM engine, aired his thoughts on how the rest of the industry became popular and remaining action excursion behind. He explained that game titles such as Doom and Tomb Raider appeared and injected adrenaline and new types of energy into video games, an energy that Point and Click simply wouldn't be able to cope with. This shows that within the interior circle of those involved in producing point and click it was experienced that the genre was beginning to dwindle. As Monkey Island copy writer Tim Schaefer explained in an independent interview:

"It felt very much, as if the genre we treasured and helped to build and nurture have been infected. We all knew what was incorrect but were powerless to help"

However, before the effects of the console warfare could be believed, whilst the home console was in it's early on years, The Action Excitement genre was allowed an environment in which to flourish. Using its already established SCUMM system, created in 1987, LucasArts led the way in cutting edge narrative centered action adventures. With game titles such as Maniac Mansion being such an enormous success, the genre sustained to move from durability to strength without paying too much focus on the ongoing fight between the Japanese contenders. As being a genre, Point and Click offered something to gamers that, at the time, only the movie industry can offer, its ability to connect using its audience by using in-depth and immersive tale and narrative. However they offered something new in story-telling, the initial quality of video gaming designed for a potential revolution, breaking the shackles of the typical 'linear' storytelling.

LucasArts had a solid team of programmers behind the titles such as Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. Famous brands Ron Gilbert and Tim Schaefer were strong believers in history telling. Storyline as a medium of communication has been upon this earth because the dawn of the species, so the implementation of this important value of individuals society should be a simple one. However, this isn't always the truth. Many video games created after the point and click generation in a few circles are believed to obtain neglected these story-telling elements in favour of highly polished design or over indulgent gameplay elements. This was never more noticeable than in the time after the increase of the first totally 3d game titles.

With the release of greatly successful headings after their first release 'Maniac Mansion', including 'Day of the Tentacle', 'Monkey Island' and 'Sam and Max' maybe it's said that LucasArts and other leading point and click creators were sitting very at the top of the pile of PC game creators. However, the video game industry is not one where a company is permitted to rest on their laurels, there is always someone waiting in the wings to test you and take the top spot. This landed in the hands of another Japanese scientific large, Sony. In 1995 the Sony Playstation premiered with huge commercial success. This is the start of the boom in home consoles and the eventual progression into completely 3D gaming conditions. The first major name to bring the idea of 3D surroundings to the forefront was Center Designs 'Tomb Raider', released in 1996 on three platforms, including PC, Tomb Raider would become one of Playstations most successful titles, whilst playing a big role in the 3D trend of gambling.

In order to fully comprehend the success of 3D video games, it is important to comprehend why the buyer wanted to become a part of them. As mentioned in the earlier chapter, Video games up until this point were 2D founded arcade games, or more narrative driven headings including the point and click. The actual 3D revolution allowed creators to do was to take this tale structured game type and mould it into something with higher levels of realism. The creation of 3D worlds probably allowed for a greater degree of immersion for the gamer. Reasonable soundscapes, voice-overs and sound effects, also proved helpful to heighten the players sense of involvement.

Immersion is a phrase banded about within the world of video gaming, but it is important to fully understand it's different varieties and exactly how they affect the player. Were Point and click video games just not immersive enough? Or does the marketing led phenomena of progressively increased visuals and graphical aesthetics cause the finish for the un-advancing genre?

When taking a look at where in fact the point and click failed, it is important to give attention to how the industry changed. As previously mentioned with the improvements in 3D images, PC games were slowly being left behind, requiring a multitude of upgrades in order to play game titles which were easily operating on the more compact home consoles such as the Playstation. While using advancement of 3D video gaming, came a fresh technology of gamer. It had been the period of instant gratification.


"There is absolutely no government approved starting place. Sometimes it's account, other times it's placing or a lead identity. It all evolves in collaboration with each other. " (Ron Gilbert, 2007)

These are the words of Ron Gilbert one of the co-creators of Monkey Island, arguably typically the most popular Point trip game available. Much like his hypothesis for creating video games, this Dissertation doesn't invariably get started with a setting or a primary character

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